CCMT carries out direct interventions in conflictual relationships upon request by the parties themselves or observers who recognise the need for outside assistance. Most of our interventions have so far been in community conflicts that are destructive to human relationships and to the physical infrastructure as well as other developmental issues.
We prefer to use a holistic approach which includes aspects of dialogue, mediation and negotiation amongst other conflict resolution techniques. Direct interventions have taken place in the Buhera District of Manicaland Province, Chirumanzu, Tongogara and Vungu districts of Midlands Province as well as the Zaka district of Masvingo Province.
CCMT carries out indirect interventions through co-facilitation with organisations and communities. The communities and organisations involved take ownership of the process with support and guidance from CCMT.
After carrying out an analysis of the issues, CCMT together with community members, identifies the relevant stakeholders and skills that would be required to resolve the issues. These trained community members will then apply the acquired conflict management and transformation skills in their personal lives, communities, institutions or organisations.
We work to transform the ways in which societies deal with conflict – away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving. We partner with local government, civil society and communities to find culturally appropriate means to strengthen societies’ capacity to deal with conflicts constructively.
Supporting the development of policies that address community needs
In the past five years (since 2013), we broadened our scope of programming to include conflict interventions that not only address behavioural, attitudinal and relational issues, to include conflict interventions that seek to address systemic and structural causes of conflicts within communities and the nation at large. An analysis of documented cases and the experience gleaned by the organisation through working with conflict in communities has shown that some of the conflicts experienced by communities have their roots in legislation and policies that frame the context within which these communities live. This therefore meant that dealing with the behaviours, attitudes and relationship issues was not enough to comprehensively address community conflicts. These lessons influenced the manner in which we view and approach conflict. Cognisant of this, we began carrying out interventions that sought to address the systemic and structural causes of these conflicts. This is done through creating participatory spaces where communities and authorities jointly interrogate systems and policies that contribute to conflict. This is done with a view to promote the development of policies that address community needs and concerns.
Enhancing Youth and Women Participation in Local Governance
As part of the process of addressing systemic and structural conflicts, we are also supporting processes that seek to empower youth and women to participate in local governance issues. Due to patriarchy and in some cases religious practices, youth and women are often excluded from participating in issues that affect them which in most instances result in the development of policies that do not reflect their needs and concerns. In most cases, this has resulted in the perpetuation of conflicts between authorities and communities as policies developed by authorities do not comprehensively address the needs of everyone in the communities. To do this, we have created sustainable platforms for engagement between youth and women on one hand local authorities. To enhance the capacities of women and youth to participate in local governance issues, to enhance participatory development of policies and legislation and contribute to the reform of policies that perpetuate women and youth marginalization, we have equipped the women and youth with skills on citizen engagement, social accountability and conflict transformation.
Dealing with productivity barriers through conflict transformation
More often than not, productivity within Smallholder Irrigation Schemes (SISs) is widely viewed as a product of the availability of adequate farming inputs (seeds, fertilisers, pesticides etc) and implements (tractors, ploughs etc), what could be defined as the ‘hardware’ or ‘tangible’ things necessary for production to take place. However experience gleaned by the organisation through working with SISs, has shown that productivity in the schemes is not only subject to ‘hardware’ but ‘software’ issues as well. Software issues relate to the relationships amongst stakeholders and institutional arrangements which define how the SISs should be set up and how they should operate. SISs were developed on the premise that, that collective effort by farmers would lead to agricultural increased productivity and in consequence improve food security. However the approach did not project relational conflicts that would inevitably be created by bringing people from different backgrounds to work together in the schemes. In other words there was no deliberate policy and strategies aimed fostering cohesion amongst different stakeholders involved in Irrigation Development. Poor institutional arrangements have also contributed to the problem as this exacerbated the conflicts, as the schemes do not have clear structures and systems that guide the operations of the schemes. This has seen most SISs being characterised by internal leadership conflicts and between leadership and farmers.
As our contribution towards addressing the above-mentioned challenges, we are working with 5 SHISs directly and 15 indirectly in the Midlands Province with a dual agenda of fostering cohesion amongst farmers through transforming conflict and supporting the SHISs set up structures and systems that will help minimise conflicts. Strengthening cohesion amongst farmers is critical in harnessing the power of collective efforts particularly in terms of procuring of farming inputs, marketing of produce and tackling any challenges that farmers may face. Supporting the setting up of governance structures and systems, is critical in minimising systemic and structural conflicts that usually set farmers on a collision course.
Creative a safe environment for communities in mining areas to pursue livelihoods
We are facilitating a sustained dialogue between local communities in Runde District, their local authorities, mining companies, EMA, ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and other relevant stakeholders on sustainable mineral practices, transparency and accountability in the management of mineral resources. This is being done through the creation of a sustainable platform of engagement between these stakeholders. Through our interventions, mining companies are becoming more transparent, increasing their contributions towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT) and embracing environmentally friendly mining practices through compliance with the local and national regulations. By facilitating dialogues on the rehabilitation of open pits which endanger livestock and humans, we are actively contributing towards the creation of safe environments where local communities can derive livelihoods. We have enabled the local communities in the mining areas to become gate keepers of their environment, assisting authorities to curb illegal mining practices which by extension result in illicit financial flows and loss of the much needed revenue.